God knows everything (1 John 3:20). The Bible says when we ask God for wisdom, he will give it to us (James 1:5). And we are told that God is not the God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).
So why does God allow us to feel aimless and confused in life sometimes even though we are asking for direction?
Here are 4 reasons God lets us be confused sometimes for our good.
1. God Will Lovingly Make You Feel Aimless If You Are Actually Living Aimlessly
I imagine some people getting upset with the phrase “God is making you feel aimless.” Many would want me to say that God is simply “allowing” them to feel aimless. Sometimes God won’t be causing this feeling but rather will simply be allowing it. In the points 2-4 of this article, that would be a better phrase to use, “allowing you to feel aimless.” But in this point, I’m specifically saying God is “making” people feel aimless.
Christians often forget that the Holy Spirit causes appropriate feelings of conviction in us (John 16:8). For example, if you are secretly addicted to something, God will make you feel guilty as a way of motivating you to repent. If you are isolating yourself from your Christian community, the Holy Spirit will give you a sense of loneliness as a way of motivating you to seek out fellowship. Likewise, if you are living your life in an aimless way and you really aren’t fulfilling your purpose, God will actually make you feel aimless so that you will be motivated to find direction and clarity about your purpose.
Many people want to live an aimless, pointless life while feeling like they are living an important, focused life. As Augustine said, “Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.” God is never going to lie to you (Titus 1:2). If you feel aimless, it could be because you are aimless; God will give you negative feelings when you are doing negative things as a way of motivating you to pursue positive things which will then be matched with positive feelings (1 John 3:19-24).
All that to say, God will use the feeling of aimlessness to help you find your direction and purpose.
2. God Will Let You Feel Aimless as a Way of Crystalizing Your Specific Calling
There are levels to our feelings. Sometimes we can have an overall peace in Christ, knowing we are trying to please him and are covered by his grace; but then there is an uneasiness in a particular area of our hearts that causes us to find deeper clarity about the specific calling God is placing on us.
I use the phrases “your purpose” and “your calling” in different ways. Your purpose is the overall goal God has for your life. As Christians, we all have the same purpose – to glorify God. But we each have different callings throughout our lives.
The way I use this word “calling” is that it’s a task God wants you to do right now. This can change throughout life and you can be called to do multiple things at the same time. For example, I know my calling right now is to be a husband to my wife, a father to my children, and to create content that exalts Jesus. But when my children get older, my calling will change a bit as they won’t need me anymore like they do now. And perhaps YouTube gets tired of Christians and kicks me off one day, thus my calling will be different in how I create content.
All that to say, if you feel aimless, God could be speaking to you about finding greater clarity about your calling, about the tasks he wants you to do right now. He could even be changing your calling. Perhaps he wanted you to do what you are doing, but now he is calling you to something different.
One way you will know you are doing what God is calling you to do is by seeing what need you can help others with that you enjoy doing and are good at. For example, Paul’s preaching benefited others, he enjoyed doing it, and he was good at it (1 Corinthians 9:16).
(For more on this, you can read my article Two Questions to Ask Yourself to Find Your Calling.)
3. God Will Allow You to Feel Aimless as a Way of Equipping You to Help Others Find Clarity Too
Your past mess often becomes your future ministry. God often first allows us to suffer like the people he has called us to serve. Those who are best equipped to help people are usually those who have suffered like those who need their help.
For example, a woman who has suffered with body image issues is usually going to be able to better help a younger woman who is also suffering with body image issues compared to a man who has never suffered from this type of thing. And a man who has struggled with a porn addiction but has repented is going to be better equipped to help a younger man with this issue compared to a woman who has never struggled with this type of thing.
For example, when you read Titus 2:3-5 Paul instructs older women to help younger women and then in Titus 2:6 he tells Titus to focus on younger men, presumably because Titus related more to the younger men himself.
Of course I’m not saying we can only help people who are exactly like us. But oftentimes God does equip us for a particular ministry by first allowing us to experience the type of issues those people we are called to help are experiencing. Paul was the most legalistic person before he became a Christian, but God then called him to help other people understand grace (Philippians 3:2-11).
If you feel aimless, God could be allowing you to suffer like this so that when you do learn how to find clarity through the Spirit’s leading, you will then be equipped to help other people fight aimlessness too (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
4. God Will Allow You to Feel Aimless as a Way of Increasing Your Pursuit of His Presence
As Saint Augustine said of God, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Psalm 16:11 explains, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If you are tired of feeling aimless and you want to know the path of life, then you must seek the presence of God.
Why would God allow you to emotionally suffer? Here’s an article called 3 Reasons God Is Allowing You to Emotionally Suffer.